For my 125th post I would like to dedicate this to my grandfather who passed away on March 26. His viewing and funeral was April 1 and April 2. My grandfather was a great, great man who had strong ideals but he was also extremely determined. My grandfather was the first of all of his family to come to America and paved the way so that he could bring his siblings, wife and children. I cannot tell you enough what a great man my grandfather was.
Duties that I was responsible for: I had to be “hostess” with my two siblings, my brother greeting them and asking them to sign the registry and then myself handing out the program with a piece of candy and a quarter wrapped in white paper to resemble good luck.
On Tuesday, April 1, it was a great sadness that I went to my grandfather’s viewing. Walking into the place I immediately began to tear up and tears began to fall. My mother told me to be strong. As an Asian, the custom is to not cry as much as possible but it is hard when faced with death. I walked up to the casket that held my grandfather and saw that he looked like he was smiling and began to cry because I miss him ever so dearly. A custom is that you must burn the incense and place it in a bowl of rice. Hearing my grandmother cry made my heart hurt so much and seeing my father being strong made me a proud daughter. As close friends and family came my grandmother sobbed as they hugged her with their condolences. A lot of people flooded in as time passed and we had an amazing group of people show up from family to family friends and even my father’s (and siblings) English teacher from high school. Seeing so many faces and watching them all gather because of my grandfather made me realize how many people had been touched by my grandfather.
Wednesday, April 2, was the hardest day in my life because it was the saddest and most heartbreaking. I woke up that morning in that state of limbo and being unaware but it broke when I realized that I was going to be a part of burying my grandfather. As a tradition, once we arrived, all the siblings of my grandfather as well as children and grandchildren, we all had to wear white ribbons on our arms that we would bury with my grandfather after he was ready to be placed into the ground. When walking into the chapel it was hard not to cry and eventually I gave up and cried as I burned the incense in the funeral home. I walked a little bit away so that I didn’t get in the way and didn’t realize until after the funeral that my grandmother had placed things my grandfather wore often into the casket with him like glasses and pants and a couple of other things. I was hostess once more as people began to come in, some I didn’t know and others who had stopped by the day before. It wasn’t until the preacher came and he spoke so greatly of my grandfather but I won’t say that it really touched me when he began to reference the bible because I am not religious but when the priest mentioned how my grandfather would be missed it was touching. When my grandfather’s casket was being moved to the vehicle the petals on the trees were flowing in the wind and the sunlight shined so brightly that it was quite majestic and even on the sad occasion made it feel that much more meaningful to have such a wonderful day be upon my grandfather for he was a great man who deserved the best kind of weather. My grandfather loved the outside, he has an amazing garden that I hope will stay strong, and the sun was his friend I believe.
When we arrived to the funeral site I had a candle in my hand and it was to help burn the incense at the end once the pastor was done. I didn’t care that people saw me cry, I didn’t care. I watched as they removed the rolling mechanism when they were ready to bury him. Another custom is to burn money (paper, not real, but Chinese) and we had to burn that in this large trash can bin like the one Oscar the Grouch lives in. The fire got so hot and extreme that it began to burn the grass. Remember those white ribbons? We placed them with my grandfather’s casket on top with the beautiful flowers that were on top. A custom when walking away from the funeral site is never to look back because Asians always look forward. I heard them cranking the casket and it was really hard. As we drove away we invited everyone to come to one of my grandfather’s favorite restaurants that I went to once a week as a child for about 10-12 years.
I miss you so much and I will hopefully make you proud because you were so strong in your life. I cannot express enough how much I will miss you or even put that into words but I hope that you know I love you very much.